I hope you had a lovely weekend. I had an amazing time shadowing event stylists and florists, By Appointment Only Design, as they styled a wedding at The Savoy Hotel in London.
Could you tell us a little bit about how you became interested in photography?
I was born with a camera in my hand!
It’s in the Davenport genes. My mum would spend every spare penny on kit and film. And my daughter is a Wedding and Bridal Fashion Photographer.
How did you learn your photography skills?
By absorption in my childhood. Then early on, by doing a City & Guilds course in the evenings to get to grips with the technical side…and read, read, read.
In later years, I did a degree in Graphic Design where I was able to utilise my photography skills and learn in-depth about artistic, informed, composition and use of space.
Here, I wrote my dissertation on the use of colour psychology in packaging! I then went on to study for an MA in Fine Art Photography, where I was able to further research western colour psychology to underpin my photographic output there.
What type of camera and lenses do you use?
Chase Jarvis has produced a book recently called ‘The Best Camera is the One That’s With You‘…this is my sentiment entirely.
I keep a visual diary which is all about seasons, colour and layers. It’s full of papers, lists, photos, magazine clippings, objects trouvé…anything.
Photos will be drawn on, crayons used….anything goes. They feed my creative mind.
When I’m out and about I will capture images on anything…phone, point and shoot, plastic Holga Film camera, medium format film.
Digitally, I use a Canon 5Dmkii with 24 – 70, 70 – 200 and 180, +100mm macro lenses for my close-up work.
Could you tell us about any of your recent commissions where flowers have featured?
I have private commissions and in the past have had both joint and solo exhibitions. I have work hung at Trowbridge Gallery.
This autumn, I exhibited my work at the RHS Autumn Show for a fourth year, which is a great privilege.
This year, I made a collection of a behind-the-scenes look at the work of a very talented young flower girl called Tattie Graham. A series of nine images was hung.
I’m also involved at the moment with a textile designer called Kate Toms. I’m documenting her work for coverage in national magazines.
What are your tips for people taking photos of flowers?
Pre-visualisation and think like a fine art portrait photographer. After that… composition, light, space, texture, etc.
On my website, my work is divided up into food, flowers and faces. I see my flower work as a portrait rather than a photograph of a plant.
Get to know the flower and its personality! I will often spend a whole day shooting one flower to get optimum from it.
This is after getting straight in my head what I’m looking to achieve. This comes from my visual diaries.
What are your plans for 2013?
To build on my photographic expertise…still! Mainly in making beautiful black and white prints.
A very great friend and traditional photographic printer sadly died last year. I now have a wonderful printer in Dorset who does all my digital work. He has an amazing knowledge of current papers and will choose the right one to bring out the best in an image.
Can I quote Lillian Bassman here? She once told someone that the best photography she would ever take is the one that she would take tomorrow.
She died earlier this year aged 94 and was still printing in her darkroom and using Photoshop to manipulate her work!
Now that is what I call inspiration…
What is your favourite flower?
Tall ones! A love of cottage garden flowers…my mum’s influence again. I love to be able to bring armfuls in from my garden.
I particularly love white lilac and white phlox, which evoke memories of my mum’s garden.
Bluebells…that speaks for itself…spring. The Chelsea Daisy is another favourite as this reminds me of the walk from Sloane Square tube station ages ago, when they were first planted in window boxes along the way.
(Images : Julie Davenport)